East Bay Center for the Blind


Summer 2010
Newsletter of
The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc.
2928 Adeline St.
Berkeley, CA 94703
Phone: 510-843-6935
Fax: 510-843-6006
E-Mail: ebcb@pacbell.net
Web site: www.eastbaycenterfortheblind.org

Editor's Corner

By Daveed Mandell

Welcome to the summer issue of "Keeping in Touch". In this issue, Preston Moses presents an amusing article about incidents that blind people often encounter. Sherri Gabrielson offers an engaging poem about cultural diversity, Doug Nash entertains us with some intriguing epigrams, Dorothy Donaville contributes a moving love poem and tempts our palates with two delicious recipes, and we remember a special Center member and friend who has passed on.

I must once again apologize to Greg Fernbacher, one of the Center's volunteers mentioned in last winter's issue. I neglected to say that the Center very much appreciates his donation earlier this year of a desk for the computer lab.

Grace Rodriguez contributed a poem to last spring's issue, whose author was unknown to her. I have been told that "My Get Up and Go has Got Up and Went" is a song written by the late Malvina Reynolds, of "Little Boxes" fame. Contributions to the newsletter are always welcome. Please contact me via email at daveedm@sbcglobal.net, or phone me at 510-665-9260.

President’s Letter

Dear Friends:

I want to thank everyone for a very successful bake sale last month. Our wonderful cooks donated delicious baked goods and casseroles; and in addition to making a great contribution to EBCB’s fundraiser, we all got to happily eat our way through the day and have goodies to take home as well. We cleared around $700.

Thanks also to our wonderful volunteers and members who provided the great lunch and helped with selling the goodies, setting up, serving, and cleaning up. As always, thanks to Charlotte Criddell for our Sees Candy fundraising.

Our chorus and musicians provided a great performance, narrated by Grace Rodriguez in her usual clever and charming fashion. We always appreciate our program, and this year we had the additional treat of the players from our keyboarding class.

I’m pleased to note that our Spanish class is continuing on Thursdays from 1:00 to 2:00, except the first Thursday of the month when we have our usual bingo. We were sorry to lose Maria Cardenas who was volunteering to teach this class, but glad to have Antonio de la Cruz who is currently volunteering to teach us Spanish.

The Center will be closed for the first two weeks in August. During the second two weeks of August there will be no classes, but we’ll be here, and folks are welcome to come by to visit.

I hope everyone has a great summer.
All the best,
Jan Santos

Upcoming Events

Quarterly Business Meeting: The Center's summer quarterly business meeting will take place on Saturday, July 24, from 1 to 4 PM. We will serve Chef's salad, rolls and a dessert, to be chosen by Pam Almeida, our cook. Lunch costs $10 for both members and guests. Please reserve your plate no later than Wednesday, July 21.

Annual Picnic: The Center's annual picnic will be held on Saturday, August 28, from noon to 4 PM. We will serve hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, beans, corn and watermelon. Lunch costs $10 for both members and guests, and should be reserved no later than Wednesday, August 25.

September Event: To be announced.

Incidents That Can Only Happen to a Blind Person

Submitted by Preston Moses

Two nights before last spring's California Council of the Blind convention in Burlingame, I was walking down the street toward my house in San Pablo, after having dinner at an Italian restaurant. A man walked up to me and said, "You need a dog!" He then repeated the same sentence in a louder voice. I responded, "I know better what I need than you do, fella!" He didn't reply. However, a woman who was with the man said to him, "He told you!" I think she was telling him that once again he put his foot in his mouth, as if she had warned of this before. I walked home without further problems.

Two nights later, I dropped a tube of toothpaste in my room at the convention and felt around without success. The next morning I was dressing, and when I put my shoes on, I felt something heavy in one of them. Of all places to find a tube of toothpaste! It was -- you guessed it -- in my shoe. I had to laugh.

Perhaps this incident isn’t so unique to blind people after all. A sighted friend came over last week and as she was leaving, she couldn’t find her keys. She looked all around and finally found them in front of her face. We both laughed as I teased her about the fact that I thought that I was the one that was blind. It just goes to show how life can be fun and interesting.

Earlier in my life, I was involved in another amusing incident, this time in Berkeley. I was with my mother, when I bumped into a man who swore, saying, "Jesus Christ!" I replied, "no, I’m Moses." My mother laughed so hard and told me that the man had a look that was one of a guy who didn’t know how to respond, and he was totally speechless. He walked away, and my mother kept on laughing, and we continued on a walk that led us to a restaurant.

Shortly after graduating from high school, I was involved in an incident that occurred at the Living Skills Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (now called the Hatlen Center), in San Pablo, where I learned daily living skills. I made a beef stew, and someone suggested that I put freeze-dried vegetables in it. The trouble was they forgot to tell me to boil them first, so the vegetables were still dry on top of the stew. My roommate laughed and said, "so you made an 'askew stew!'" I ended up removing as many vegetables as I could.


Multicultural Education

Submitted By Sherri Gabrielson

We come from all the continents,
And from different countries,
We come from many different cultures,
And many different views.
We accomplish tasks using different techniques,
We communicate using different sentence structures,
We interpret using different thought patterns,
We listen to different music.

Are we so different?We learn about countries,
And the many facets of many cultures,
Shining through our lack of knowledge.
We really are alike,
We are humanity,
Learning from each other,
And exchanging views.
Learning to live with differences,
As the facets of different cultures,
Improve and color our lives,
Creating the many dimensions of the human culture.
The diverse flavors of native foods,
The patterns of musical styles,
The richness of mythology and history,
All creating the bouquet of humanity.
The dancing colors of tropical cultures,
The rich history of ancient cultures,
The heartiness of northern cultures,
Creating the fabric of the human culture.
Learning from each other’s history and mythology,
Learning each others drama and music,
Enjoying new foods and art,
Appreciating the literature of humanity.
One culture reads with the eyes,
Another culture reads with the fingers,
And the next culture talks with the hands,
We are all the culture of humanity.


California's biggest energy utilities are seeking to raise or redesign their rates in a way that will harm the state's low-income residents.

Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) believes that the proposed changes will harm residential consumers with disabilities, many of whom live on a fixed income and rely on utilities more than the average Californian. DRA is opposing the proposals before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

We are collecting individual consumer stories to help us persuade the CPUC to reject these rate increases. DRA believes that testimony reflecting the real-world impact of increased utility bills on individuals with disabilities is essential in providing the state's decision-makers and the public with a complete picture of the effects of proposed rate hikes. DRA is Seeking Stories from Consumers with Disabilities.

If anyone in your household has a disability, we want to hear from you. Do you struggle to pay your utility bills? Would an increase in utility rates harm your ability to pay for all your monthly expenses?. Have you ever been forced to choose between paying your utility bill or a bill for another service? What choices have you made?

To share your story, please contact Zach Wiley or Alicia Reyes at Disability Rights Advocates.

Disability Rights Advocates
Email: Zach Wiley: zwiley@dralegal.org
Email: Alicia Reyes: areyes@dralegal.org
Phone: 510-665-8644 (same for both)
TTY: 510-665-8716


Dorothy’s Spanish Corn

Submitted by Dorothy Donaville

What You Need:

1 1/2 to 2 lbs. ground beef or Turkey
3 cans tomato sauce (12 oz.
3 cans sweet whole kernel corn (12 oz.)
2 cups Grated cheddar cheese (sprinkle on top of casserole)
Chili powder
Black pitted olives (optional)
1 onion & 3 cloves garlic chopped fine (Granulated garlic, & onion salt or powder may be used instead.)

Season to taste with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder (your choice)


Brown beef or turkey, along with onion and garlic. Cook until well done. Drain.

In a large pot, put cooked meat, tomato sauce and corn (drained). Save water from corn in a separate bowl. Bring mixture to a slow boil, and add chili powder to taste.

When mixture comes to a boil, add cornmeal, sprinkling a small amount at a time, to thicken mixture to a cake batter consistency. Use the drained water from corn as needed to get the desired consistency.

Pour mixture in an 8-by-11-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking oil. Add olives (optional) and sprinkle top with grated cheese. Cook in a preheated (375 degrees) oven for approximately 25 minutes. Cheese should be lightly browned.

Note: Additional tomato sauce and corn may be needed, if desired. This is a great dish for a pot luck and good for large crowds. Bon appetit! Enjoy. Serve with green salad of your choice.

Ranked Choice Voting

Submitted by Mark Numainville, CMC
Deputy City Clerk, City of Berkeley

Berkeley, Oakland, and San Leandro voters will use Ranked Choice Voting for the first time this November. This method allows the voter to rank candidates in order of preference, and eliminates the need for run-off elections. Ranked Choice Voting will only be used in single winner races for city offices. In these races, voters can (but aren't required to) indicate their first, second and third choice for an office.

RCV is fully accessible using the touch screen voting machines. This is sometimes called "instant run-off voting", but don't be confused -- it's not instant, and all ballots get counted before a race is decided. Under RCV, a candidate must receive a majority of votes to be declared the winner.

For more information, visit www.acgov.org/rov/rcv, or call 272-6973.


Submitted by Doug Nash

Louis Armstrong lived in a world of prejudice,
But helped the white man with his blues.
Each is the captain of their own ship,
And sinks according to their own wit.
The oil and the water mix,
Man is lost with broken sticks.
If you don't play, you don't lose.
If I smell a rat, I get a cat.



Submitted by Dorothy Donaville

1 1/2 cups unsifted flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold margarine or butter
2 eggs
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk(not evaporated)
1 1/2 teaspoons maple flavor
2 cups chopped nuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in margarine until crumbly. Stir in one beaten egg. Press firmly on bottom of 13-by -9-inch baking pan. Bake 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat condensed milk, remaining egg and maple flavor. Stir in nuts. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over prepared crust. Top with nut mixture. Bake 25 minutes, or longer, or until golden. Cool and cut into squares. Store tightly, covered at room temperature. Makes 24 to 36 bars.



Author Unknown
Submitted by Dorothy Donaville

Someday, when we have been together for a very long time, we’ll turn out the lights and slow dance on the porch in our bath robes. I’ll write you love notes in large print and tape them to the fridge. You’ll finish my stories, and I’ll borrow your glasses. We’ll wonder where the time went.

And each night, we’ll roll to the middle of our old bed, into one another’s arms, where we’ll kiss and touch and dream the secret dreams that only old lovers know.

Dr. James Fong: A Remembrance

It is with regret and sadness that we report the loss of a very special member and friend. Dr. James Fong died last April of numerous health-related complications. He was 88 years old.

James worked as an Oakland dentist for more than fifty years. After his retirement, when he became disabled, devoted family members faithfully brought James to the Center three days a week, for nearly a decade, where he enthusiastically participated in Braille class, ceramics, exercise class, and computer instruction. He enjoyed his time at the Center, and we, in turn, appreciated his determination and tremendous sense of humor. It was indeed an honor to know him.

During the years that James attended the Center, several of his sons and daughters participated as volunteers in Center events and became active members. We were heartened to learn that his family has requested that donations in James' memory be sent to the Center, and we have so far received many generous contributions for which we are grateful.

Mission Statement

The mission of the East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., is to develop quality programs and services for blind and visually impaired people by providing a safe and supportive environment, while encouraging one another through leadership, interaction and the sharing of information, resources and skills. The Center's activities enhance independence, dignity and self-determination. As a self-governing organization of primarily blind and visually impaired persons, The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., is committed to remaining a living, working foundation of strength, as we participate in the larger community in all areas of our daily lives.

Center Officers and Directors

President:  Jan Santos
First Vice-President:  Lizz Deeff
Second Vice-President:  Steve Fort
Recording Secretary:  Daveed Mandell
Corresponding Secretary:  Patricia Nash
Treasurer:  Ida Johnson
Directors:  Charlotte Criddell; Dorothy Donaville; Anita March; Katrina McCurdy; Connie Skeen


If you or a friend would like to remember The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., in your will, you can do so by employing the following language: "I give, devise, and bequeath unto The East Bay center for the Blind, Inc., a nonprofit charitable organization in California, the sum of $___ (or ___) to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons." Thank you for your tax-deductible donation.

"I am only one;
but still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
but still I can do something.
I will not refuse to do the something I can do."

   -- Helen Keller